04: Reign

Part 2

Stardust was crying again.

Third King looked down at her in annoyance. He was doing this for her, too. Jack had never used her while he had her; she should be happy she was getting some exercise instead of just sitting around doing nothing.

Jack...

"Attack," Third King whispered. Stardust roared and fired upon the city below. Third King listened to the screams with pleasure. They hadn't deserved Jack. No one deserved Jack. He had been a true King. They could suffer for keeping Jack to themselves for so long.

"Attack," Third King ordered again. "Attack. Attack!"

He heard a few people scream for mercy. He only laughed. They were asking the wrong person. He had no mercy for Neo Domino City natives.

He was getting bored, though. He would let them have a few hours free of death.

Third King directed Stardust to land in Tops, behind the twins' building, where he had decided to stay for a while. Rua and Ruka weren't there; they were staying at Saiga's place with Himuro and Yanagi. That was fine with him. He knew where Saiga's place was. He could avoid attacking it.

"Yusei."

Third King turned and grinned at the owner of the deep voice. The man was lucky that Third King couldn't kill him, or he would have been the first casualty.

"Yusei, you must stop this mindless destruction," Godwin said, almost sounding pleading. But Third King knew him better than that. Godwin would always believe he was in control of the situation, even if he wasn't. Like now.

"Mindless? I assure you, it isn't mindless, Director. I know exactly what I'm doing," Third King said, grinning at him.

"You're killing thousands of people!" Godwin said. "This isn't another dimension, Yusei, where death may or may not be absolute! These people will never come back!"

"They deserve it," Third King said. "As do you." Third King laughed, spreading his arms wide. "This is all for you, Director! I'm so glad to hear you hate it!"

"What have I done to deserve this?" Godwin asked, sounding curious instead of fearful. That made him angry. Third King wanted Godwin to fear him, to suffer. He wasn't suffering enough.

"You took Jack from me!" Third King exclaimed. "No, no, first it was Kiryu. You took Kiryu from me and broke apart my family. But you couldn't stop there. Oh no, you had to tear my family further apart! Kiryu couldn't come back, but Jack could have, if not for you!"

Third King clenched his fist at his side, because the throbbing in his arm wouldn't let him grab his knife and slash Godwin in the throat. "I suffered for two years, praying that Jack would come back, praying for some sign that he remembered us lowly Satellites, but you blinded him to us! And now he's dead, because of you and your damn tournament!"

Third King laughed suddenly, high and cruel. "And now I'll return the favour. I'll take your world from you and destroy it. And you'll suffer until you die!"

Godwin regarded him silently for several minutes. Finally, he said softly, "Jack is not dead, Yusei."

Third King scowled at him, his eyes flashing red. "You're lying."

"Jack has been staying with a reporter who saved him from the explosion at the hospital," Godwin continued. "I have visited him myself. He's doing just fine."

"You're lying!" Third King exclaimed, taking a step toward him. "I saw the explosion myself! I was there! I didn't see anyone leave!"

"I assure you, he is perfectly fine. I could take you there. I'm sure he would like to see you."

"I'm not going anywhere with you," Third King hissed. "I hate you. You're the reason Jack and Kiryu are dead."

"Jack is not—"

"Stop lying!" Third King ran at him, aiming to knock him off his feet. Godwin didn't move, letting Third King hit him and throw him backward. He slid to a stop close to the edge of the pool.

"Yusei," Godwin said, sitting up, "you know the truth. Now this destruction is mindless."

Third King's eyes narrowed and he stalked over unless he stood in front of Godwin. Without a word, he kicked Godwin in the chest, knocking his backward again. Third King dropped to his knees, kneeling so he had Godwin's arms pinned to the ground. Then he grabbed Godwin by the throat and pushed his head under the surface of the water in the pool.

"You're lying," he said, sure that Godwin could hear him. "And it doesn't matter whether Jack is alive or not. What matters is that you took him from me."

Godwin was starting to struggle, though Third King could tell it was just an automatic reaction. He didn't care. He was going to kill this man and be done with it, once and for all.

A sharp pain shot through his arm. Third King tried to ignore it, but the pain only intensified until it felt like his arm would burn off if he didn't let go. His birthmark was the most painful of all, glowing a bright, angry red.

Third King finally let go and stood up, backing away from Godwin. His birthmark calmed a little until it burned with a tolerable pain, but he knew it would likely stay lit for a few hours yet, punishing him. Anger swooped through his gut. Why wouldn't it allow him to kill this man?

Godwin pulled his head out of the water, coughing. He looked so weak. Why? Why?

Godwin knew why Third King couldn't kill him. He'd done nothing to stop Third King from trying to. He would have fought back unless he knew he wasn't in danger of dying.

"Why can't I kill you?" Third King demanded.

Godwin stood and brushed invisible dust off his clothes. Third King wanted to throw him into the pool just to piss him off. It was irritating that Godwin was always so calm.

"It's time I told you the truth, Yusei," Godwin said.

Third King crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. He doubted anything this man told his would actually be the truth. Godwin had yet to be so straightforward, and there was nothing to make him start now. After all, Third King couldn't do anything to make sure that he would be truthful. His birthmark throbbed at the thought.

"I did hold the Fortune Cup to gather the Signers and awaken your powers," Godwin said, clasping his hand behind his back. "I did not do it with the intention of hurting any of you, or for any unscrupulous means you may have thought of.

"You are aware of the legend of the People of the Stars?"

Third King nodded, not about to open his mouth. If he did, he would just yell at Godwin again, and he would rather hear this truth the man had to say.

"There are those of us who are descended from the People of the Stars. Yliaster. Throughout history, Yliaster has been in control of the events which control society. The Public Security Maintenance Bureau is one result of this.

"I am the current leader of Yliaster and the 360th Star Guardian. It is my duty to ensure the peace and prosperity of Neo Domino City. It is also my duty to awaken the powers of the Signers and bring them together, so that they may call forth the Crimson Dragon and defeat the servants of the evil that was once sealed in the earth in Nazca: the Dark Signers."

Godwin looked at him seriously, lifting his left arm in front of him. "This is why your birthmark keeps you from seriously harming me. It would keep you from harming any of your fellow Signers in the same fashion."

Third King's eyes widened and he took a small step forward without realizing it. "You're the fifth Signer?"

Godwin dropped his arm and shook his head. "That one will appear eventually. But at the moment, you cannot call forth the Crimson Dragon without me. The Crimson Dragon recognizes this and will not allow you to kill me."

Third King dropped his arms to his sides and clenched his fists. That was annoying.

But while Godwin seemed to be willing to provide information...

"During my duel with Jack—"he hesitated on Jack's name. It hurt to say it, or to think about him. He would have killed a few people to get rid of it, but he wasn't able to do that right now— "we went to another dimension, of sorts, and saw a vision of Satellite being destroyed by the Dark Signers."

Godwin nodded. Third King wouldn't be surprised if the man was the reason they had seen it in the first place.

"I'm going to destroy Satellite before that happens," Third King said, watching Godwin for a response. Godwin only nodded again, as if he had expected that.

Third King looked away, his fists tightening so much that his nails cut into his palms. This was humiliating, but...he knew Crow was right. There was no way they could do this themselves. He didn't want to trust Godwin with even the information he'd just given him, but Godwin had resources.

"You could help evacuate the citizens of Satellite. There's no reason for them to die. I'll destroy Satellite, so the Dark Signers will have no place to latch onto—"

"I cannot."

Third King's head whipped up to stare at him.

"I will not stop you from your intention for destroying Satellite," Godwin said simply, "but if I were to evacuate Satellite, the evil that will cause that disaster will come here. Their stronghold may be in Satellite, but they will seek new victims in Neo Domino City if they cannot find them in Satellite. I cannot allow that."

"Bastard," Third King hissed. Crow had been right again; Godwin didn't care at all about Satellite.

But he cared about Neo Domino. He cared about those people, those people who were so unworthy of even the air they breathed. Godwin would come to their aid, but not to the aid of those who really needed it.

Third King's body shook with hatred. He wanted to rip the mark from his arm and throw it in Godwin's face. Maybe then he could kill him.

"If you want to save Satellite, you must defeat the Dark Signers," Godwin said. It was not what Third King wanted to hear. "They will not be thwarted if you simply destroy the place."

"Then I'll kill them all," Third King said. He hated how much his voice shook. "I'll kill every citizen of Neo Domino. I'll kill every person in Satellite. And the Dark Signers can deal with you."

He turned away from Godwin and started walking back over to Stardust.

"You would kill your friends, whom you've sacrificed so much for?"

Third King paused and looked back at him. Godwin was trying not to look shocked. He was sure he'd seen more emotions pass over the man's face in these few minutes than most people had in his lifetime.

"They're Yusei's friends," he answered, looking away again. "They mean nothing to me."

He was surprised that Godwin did nothing to stop him from leaving. He'd been expecting Security officers to run out and grab him as soon as he refused to stop killing people. Instead, he was able to climb aboard Stardust and urge her to rise up into the air again.

And how he would have loved to turn her around and order her to attack the building he'd just left. Godwin would be gone and half his purpose would be fulfilled. But his birthmark throbbed violently at the thought, so he didn't even try.

"Attack," he ordered, his voice shaking with anger and determination.

He would visit the twins and Yanagi and Himuro—and possibly Yusei's other friends in Satellite—because he had enough compassion for them to let them know they would have to die as well. Maybe he would tell them to go to Godwin so that they would be able to live longer. Or to just stay near Ruka, since, now that he thought about it, he probably wouldn't be able to do anything to her either.

"Attack," he ordered again. The screams that reached his ears were music of the darkest kind.

He would go back to Satellite first. He could have his fun here later. Satellite was what needed his help now.


Crow lowered his knife cautiously. This person looked like Jack and acted like Jack. And the reporters had been more focused on Third King's actions than whether Jack was actually dead or not.

But they had also shown the hospital blowing up, and they'd pointed out the location of Jack's room. It had been in the middle of the explosion. If he'd been in his room at the time, which was likely since it had been at night, he would have been killed.

"All right, how are you still alive?" Crow demanded.

Jack glanced at his posture and the knife still in his hand. He let out a suffering sigh and pressed a hand to his forehead. "Do I really need to explain? I'm alive. We're wasting time."

"Yes," Crow said. "And then you're going to explain why, if you're alive, you didn't talk to Yusei and keep him from becoming...what he is now!"

Jack dropped his hand. "All right. The explosion was caused by a duel. Somehow, the person I was duelling was able to make all our effects and attacks real, so when I dealt the finishing blow, it caused the explosion. Because I won, I wasn't harmed by it. I've been staying with a reporter who helped me since then."

Crow tucked his knife away, eyeing him suspiciously. He would have had a hard time believing that, except that he'd watched the footage of the Fortune Cup and he'd seen Aki Izayoi's "magical" power.

"And Yusei?"

"I can't bring Yusei out of this alone," Jack said, grimacing a little. "I've been spending the week figuring out a way to get here so I could ask for your help."

Crow relaxed a little more. It must have been hard for him to say that.

"And I've been looking into Kiryu's arrest records," Jack continued. "I thought maybe he could help, if I could get him out of jail, which I'm pretty sure I could. I know all this started because of him; Yusei was never the same after...after he left us..."

"He wasn't the same after you left us, either, but at least you didn't murder someone!" Crow exclaimed. He couldn't believe Jack was even suggesting this. "Kiryu's insane, Jack. He isn't the Kiryu we knew; he wasn't when he was arrested!"

"I'm aware of that!" Jack snapped back.

"Besides, the penalty for murder is death," Crow added. "And given how quickly Security works, he was probably dead two years ago."

"I'm aware of that too," Jack said, crossing his arms. "Would you let me finish?"

Crow also crossed his arms and nodded.

"I looked up his arrest records, and you're right, he was put to death a year after he was arrested. Or he was supposed to be." Jack shook his head, glaring at the far wall as though he thought that would make this make sense. "The record said that he was sentenced to die by electrocution, but that his body is currently missing and every officer involved in the procedure was killed not long after."

Crow dropped his arms slowly, a shiver crawling up his back. That wasn't possible. Not to mention that if Kiryu were still alive somehow and that psycho, he would have already come after them.

"I talked to Director Godwin about it just before I came here," Jack said. He turned his gaze on Crow, looking more serious than Crow had thought he could be. "What do you know about the Signers?"